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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3382


Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(12.18) —In relation to the question of time, I point out that the House of Representatives will get up at 8 o'clock tonight. It would not be possible for any Bill to go across to the House of Representatives without major breaches of the Standing Orders. Standing Orders would have to be suspended, at the very least, to enable this legislation to be dealt with by the House of Representatives tomorrow. This legislation was scheduled originally for debate last Thursday. At the request of the Opposition parties-the request was put to me by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Chaney) who said that amendments were in the process of preparation-I agreed on behalf of the Government and after consultation with the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Button), to have the matter delayed until yesterday, Tuesday, on the basis that the Bill would be passed yesterday, Tuesday. We did not finish the Bill last night for reasons with which we are all familiar. I was told again that the Bill would be dealt with effectively and with dispatch this morning in order to enable it to go to the House of Representatives. Honourable senators know the particular personal constraints that I am under at the moment. I will live with them. I will stay here until 12. 50 p.m. if necessary and arrange for planes to wait and so on. It creates real difficulties for me. If we could possibly dispose of the Bill in the next half hour it really would be consistent with the undertakings that I have been given regularly since last Thursday morning by honourable senators opposite.